Kimberly's Blog


Financial Dream or Scheme?
November 4, 2010, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Financial | Tags: , , , , ,

First off I want to apologize for not posting anything to this blog for such a long time. With that said I will move on to what I have to talk to you about today.

As I was browsing news article on Msnbc.com, I just so happened to look over to my right and some of the advertisements there. Now usually I don’t pay enough attention to them to actually want to click on them but this time I saw something that caught my eye which is pictured below:

Job Scam Article LinkNotice the article titled “Danville Job Scam?” Well I clicked on the article expecting to read about the latest job scams in my area. This is a screen shot of the website that the link took me to:

Website ImageLooks like a legitimate website right? Well read on…

As I began reading this article it was quick to see that this wasn’t really an article about “Danville Job Scams” as it was an article about how a woman in Danville, VA by the name of Jessica Holcomb found an amazing new system for earning an income for herself and her three children. This article quotes her as saying, “I earn $6,000 – $7,000 a month online……….considering I work about 10-13 hours a week from home.” Are you serious? That’s a range of over $72,000 – 84,000 a year! What did she do and how can I do it too? The site goes on to tell about her story of how she had been laid off her job and had been looking for months to find a new one and how she wasn’t interested in any “get rich quick” schemes. Still I’m wondering, how on earth this young lady is making so much money working from home on her computer. Well what the article says she did was quite simple. Just visit a website link posted in the article, fill out a short form, sacrifice a little money and take advantage of their special offer of $100.00 rebate on their work at home program. They also throw in a 365 day money back guarantee! So, sounds promising right? Well read on…..

As I reach the bottom of this article FINALLY the name of this miracle program that will make me so much money. Automatic Profit System is the name. They even show you an example of an actual check someone earned through their program:

Article Check

I know you’re thinking, “WOW, I want a piece of that. Where do I go to get it?” Fear no more, they now give you the steps to follow to get a piece of what Ms. Holcomb is getting a month. Step 1:  Go to the Automatic Profit System website. Now they tell you to hurry before the 100.00 rebate offer expires. Step 2: Sign up so you can get instant access to the member’s area so you can begin the program. And last but not least, Step 3: Deposit your earnings into your bank account and Enjoy life! So easy right?

Well me being the inquisitive person I am, I start looking through the comment area to see what other people are saying about this Miracle Program. Here are a few examples of what I saw:

“The timing of this couldn’t be better, my wife and I are struggling too and this could be our answer.” – Mark (Saturday, October 30, 2010)

“Thanks for the info, just started this 3 weeks ago. I’ve gotten 2 checks for a total of $1900, pretty cool!” – Deb (Saturday, October 30, 2010)

There were a total of 19 comments with dates ranging from October 30 – November 3. Oddly, the comments were closed on this article now on November 4, 2010. Also as I ran back through those comments I noticed. Another person, Mike I think it was, had the same exact comment word for word as Mark shown above. While others may just see that as coincidence I smelled something a little fishy. That same rank smell I caught a whiff of when I started reading this but I decided to just go on and see exactly what was going on here. Well as any curious person would do I clicked on the link to this website:

APS

The first thing you hear is a man’s voice running a sales pitch, similar to the ones you here at those seminars I’m sure at least one of you have attended telling you that you can quit your current job tomorrow and start making double working from home. This further confirmed my suspicion as to exactly what they were doing here…..

As if that wasn’t enough to confirm it though, let me quiz you a little. Refer to the image I posted earlier about the website I went to thinking it was about Danville Job Scams. I asked the question, “Looks like a legitimate website right?” Well, let’s look deeper into this “website” shall we. I wanted to print a copy of this to let some other people read and get their opinion on what they were trying to pitch here. When I clicked on the print button shown on the right, above the innocent picture of mom and daughter earning money on their home computer, where do you think it took me? Back to the APS website! In fact those aren’t even buttons. It’s a JPEG image of buttons. And those links at the top labeled Home, U.S., World, etc…. well, you guessed it, aren’t buttons either. It’s all one picture probably made by some teenager with their stolen copy of Adobe Photoshop CS. It all a fake website designed to get you hooked up in this program. To further put the icing on the cake simply scroll down to the fine print on this site:

IMPORTANT CONSUMER DISCLOSURE

We are not affiliated in any way with any news organization. This is an advertisement for Automatic Profit System.

It is important to note that this site and the stories and even images (including check) depicted above is to be used as an illustrative example of what some individuals have achieved with this/these products. This website, and any page on the website, is based loosely off a true story, but has been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this advertisement, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story. This advertisement, and the results mentioned on this advertisement, although achievable for some, are not to be construed as the results that you may achieve if you purchase the Automatic Profit System. I UNDERSTAND THIS WEBSITE IS ONLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF WHAT MIGHT BE ACHIEVABLE FROM USING THIS/THESE PRODUCTS, AND THAT THE STORY DEPICTED ABOVE IS NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY. This page receives compensation for clicks on or purchase of products featured on this site.


Wow, all this from a link to an article about Danville Job Scams when in fact this is a scam all it’s own. All I could do was LOL at this one. Looks like they’re going every route these days with their new schemes. I’m sure you’ve seen them everywhere though, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, you name it. And don’t think for a minute that just because it shows up on a legitimate website such as msnbc.com that it’s should be ok. It’s not! Most website can control the volume of advertisements that appear on their site. People are preying on the fact that there are so many jobless people out there just waiting for their opportunity at making a decent income and there are so many out there who fall into that trap. The struggle is hard I’m sure but please whatever you do, don’t believe the hype! Remember what they say, “If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.” No matter where you see the advertisement, how real the website may look it takes you too, or touching the sob story is you read, do NOT sign up for anything promising you any type of income from working at home. Continue with your job searches because patience is truly a virtue and good things do come to those who wait. Just hang in there a little longer and it will soon pay off!



Inspiring Minds – Spotlight on Tony Hansberry
February 3, 2010, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Inspiring Minds | Tags: , , ,

Tony HansberryTony Hansberry is a 15 year old high school student at Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts in Jacksonville, FL. He is just like any other child his age, however, there is something that sets him apart from many. Tony was recently recognized for his school science project presented before an audience of doctors and board-certified surgeons at a medical conference at the University of Florida in April. It displayed his new approach to the technique for hysterectomy procedures. His achievement earned him the honor of working with medical residents at the University of Florida College of Medicine. “I’ve always had a passion for medicine,” he said in a recent interview. “The project I did was, basically, the comparison of novel laparoscopic instruments in doing a hysterectomy repair.”  He goes on to say, “I just want to help people and be respected, knowing that I can save lives.” He is the son of a registered nurse and an African Methodist Episcopal church pastor. His goal is to become a neurosurgeon.

His project was inspired by a challenge to improve a procedure called the endo stitch, used in hysterectomies that could not be clamped down properly to close the tube where the patient’s uterus had been. He says it only took him a day or two to come up with the vertical way to apply the endo stitch and, using a medical dummy, completed the stitching in a third of the time of traditional surgery. His discovery won second place in its regional science fair in February 2009 in the medical category.

This young man is a true inspiration to individuals young and old from all walks of life. He reassures my belief that anyone can achieve greatness if their thirst for knowledge is strong enough and are dedicated to achieving the goal(s) they set out for themselves. I look forward to reading more about this young man and his achievements in the future!

Tony Hansberry



Funding Your College Education – Who Can Help?
February 3, 2010, 11:56 am
Filed under: Education, Financial | Tags: , , , , ,

Are you about to graduate high school and looking to go to college, or are you an adult or already a college student and wanting to go back to school but are unsure how to pay for it? There are so many avenues of aid out there for those who answered yes to either of the above questions. A lot of this aid many do not even know about. Throughout the duration of my college education I was fortunate enough to go with only spending out of pocket maybe once or twice, and then it was very little. I did so with the help of financial aid and grants provided by the government and the school I was attending. The first step in receiving such aid is to go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ and fill out the free form for Federal Student Aid. To ensure that you receive aid before the beginning of spring semester, it is best the form be filled out before April or May. However, some states have their own set deadlines as to when the form should be filled out and submitted. There is certain information you will need before filling out this form such as your tax information (W2) if you are a working adult or minor. For minors, you will also need to get information about the income of your parents as well regardless if you still live with them. Your financial aid is determined by the combined income amount for both you are your parents. You will also need your schools code so that it can be entered in the form, that way when your application is processed your information can go to your school(s) of choice. The school(s) code can be found on the website of your school(s) of choice, usually in the financial aid section. Other information about the FAFSA can be found within the web site. Once you have completed and submitted your application, you may want to look around for additional aid to go along with you FSA, due to the fact that submitting an application does not guarantee you will receive aid. If your household income is too high then chances are you won’t be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. You may, however, be eligible for other aid offered by the school itself. This aid sometimes may only cover your tuition costs depending on your work load. If you take less than 6 credits within a semester then your grant may be withdrawn leaving the amount to be paid by the student. I have been in this situation so I know first hand. Sometimes things happen during the time you are in school that may force you to drop a few classes so it is always good to have a backup ready to pick up the slack.

Money For CollegeNow, let’s get to that back up shall we! Many Americans are unaware of the thousands of scholarships offered by so many companies and organizations. The first place I recommend you starting is at http://www.fastweb.com/. FastWeb is free to join and will match you up with scholarships available based on your criteria such as location, major, age, etc. Not only will you find scholarship information here but they also have resources to match you up with jobs/internships pertaining to your college major. There is also helpful information for your parents. Sign up today because as with anything these scholarships won’t last for very long and there are deadlines attached to many of them. 

Another site that you may find helpful is http://www.scholarships.com/. Sounds simple right? Well once you go to the site you will find it is just as simple as its name. Here you can search through many scholarships available to find those that are suitable for you. They also have information about Stafford loans, PLUS loans, private loans, and grants. Now when we get into the subject of loans, we enter into a different ball park. While the grants and scholarships are funds that do not have to be paid back, the loans must be paid back to the lender usually after graduation depending on the loan and its terms. Of you have tried the scholarships with no success then a loan may be your only hope. I would use student loans as a last resort though. Because while it may be easy to obtain the loan, paying it back is a different story and it could take a very long time to pay off the loan. That’s why it’s a plus to maintain a good GPA through high school as best as you can so that you have a better chance at obtaining the scholarships and grants. If you feel the need to get a student loan, the best site to search for an appropriate loan to fit your needs is http://www.estudentloan.com/. Here, either the student or the parent(s) of the student can search through many different types of loans to find one or more that is just right. 

I hope this information is helpful and be sure to periodically check back for updates as far as other student aid available as well as many other things that may be of help to you or someone you know. 

- Links - 

http://www.fafsa.ed.gov (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) 

http://www.fastweb.com/ (Scholarship, Job/Internship Search) 

http://www.scholarships.com/ (Scholarship/Student Loan Search) 

http://www.estudentloan.com/ (Student Loan Search)



7 Ways to Save Money in 2010
January 28, 2010, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Financial | Tags: , , ,

This is an article I found to be very interesting that was done by one of my co-workers here at Piedmont Credit Union. I felt I should share it with you all as well. It will also be very informative for those who live in this area (Danville City, Pittsylvania & Halifax County) who are eligible to join us here at the credit union.

Here are 7 ideas to help you save money in 2010.  What are some ideas that you have?  Share them in the comments section below…

  1. If you don’t have a written budget already, make one.  If you already have one, examine it to make sure it still works!  (Click here for a downloadable budget worksheet)
  2. Start a savings plan or club account to save money throughout the year every payday.
  3. Move your high interest debts or car loans to loans at Piedmont CU.  Even a slight reduction in the interest rate can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
  4. Start or increase your retirement savings.  Many employers require this choice to be made this time of year.  If you are working and have not started a 401K, IRA, or other retirement savings plan, start one today!
  5. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com.  Here you can make sure your credit is still in good standing or you can begin steps to improve it.  Better credit means lower loan rates and lower insurance premiums.
  6. Start using Piedmont CU Online Billpay.  This not only saves stamps, but it can really simplify your life if you use it wisely.
  7. Automate your savings.  Piedmont CU employees can setup any number of transfers to savings or loan accounts when your direct deposit comes in.  You can also setup automatic transfers within NetBranch and Online Billpay.  You can even transfer funds to other financial institutions.
Shared by:

Dan Veasey



No Credit vs. Bad Credit
January 28, 2010, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Financial | Tags: , , ,

Credit LenderAsk someone which they think is better of the two, either having bad credit or having no credit. I’m sure many will say having no credit but did you know that both are just about equal in the eyes of credit lenders? That’s right! Everyone knows that having bad credit will hinder your chances of getting a loan, purchasing a house, or buying a car, but many do not know that if they don’t have sufficient credit on their record it is just as bad as having bad credit. This is mainly due to the fact that when you don’t have enough credit on your record, FICO (Fair Issac Corporation) is unable to rate you as far as your credit score.

760-850 EXCELLENT
700-759 VERY GOOD
723 MEDIAN FICO SCORE
660-699 GOOD
687 AVERAGE FICO SCORE
620-659 NOT GOOD
580-619 POOR
500-579 VERY POOR

Your credit score is what determines how much a lender is willing to loan you as well as the interest rate they will give you. Without it, lenders don’t have anything to go on as far as your credit worthiness and your ability to repay the loan back to them. Usually in the event that you want to buy a car they will lend you the money to purchase it but you will need to put up a substantial down payment first. Lenders are more willing to give a car loan,  because the car is concidered collateral. Collateral is considered to be a security blanket for the money that was lent to you. In other words if you get severely delinquent on the loan they have the right to repossess the car/collateral and sell it for an appropriate amount, usually the book value, to cover the amount that is still owed on the loan. This would be considered as a secured loan. Other types of secured loans consist of any loan where the borrower pledges some kind of asset whether it be the car mentioned previously, cash, or property such as land or a house.

Now that you see the importance of having sufficient credit as well as a good credit score, lets talk about a few ways to establish some credit. Often times I will see individuals who will go to payday lending facilities and instead of building, establishing or improving credit, they end up damaging their credit miserably. If you want to build or establish your credit I do not recommend going to such a company to do so. I will list the best tried and true ways you can establish and build your credit the right way.

  1. Start small – If you have a limited or poor credit history, the likelihood of being approved for a large amount is slim. Without a proven credit record, most lenders won’t be willing to extend significant amounts, so it is in your favor to start with smaller requests. A lender would like to see that you are financially responsible with a relatively small amount before taking on more risk with a larger sum. Sometimes you have to crawl before you can walk, but even a good payment history with small amounts can go a long way towards proving you are responsible over the long run.
  2. Open a checking account - While opening the account doesn’t directly build your credit, it does create a relationship between you and the bank by being an account holder. Banks love to cater to their preferred customers that have accounts in great standing by offering loans and credit cards. Also, having a checking account not only helps manage your money, but it gives you the most powerful tool in building credit, a checking account to help pay your bills on time. Most banks and credit unions offer online banking with billpay that can make it easy for you to pay your bills on time, which is important in building credit.
  3. Open a secured credit card- Secured credit cards are the easiest credit cards to get, mainly because a security deposit is placed upfront in order to establish a line of credit in the same amount. For example, if you deposit $250, your credit limit is $250, and so on. The deposit isn’t used to pay for any of the purchases on the card unless, it was charged off and sent to collections, so you would have to repay it just like a regular card either in full or minimum monthly payments. The deposit is sometimes linked to a savings account, so it earns interest while you’re building credit, so the deposit isn’t sitting there. You can think of this as building credit with a savings account. The more you deposit, the higher your limit, which is good for your score because it creates a cushion between the total debt you owe and the credit you have available. Also, by continuing to add to the deposit, you’re also creating an emergency fund at the same time. A good way of using the card is by making small purchases ($20/month max) and paying on time every month while adding to the deposit. Usually after a year or so, the card either converts or upgrades to a regular card, and most importantly, the deposit is given back, which you can place in a savings account as an emergency fund.Link(s) to secured credit cards:

    https://www.citicards.com/cards/wv/cardDetail.do?screenID=940

    http://www.bankofamerica.com/creditcards/index.cfm?context_id=marketing_detail&offer_id=ECOMM090XFEQ00400800121983EN001

    https://www.wellsfargo.com/credit_cards/secured/?_requestid=237999

    http://www.usbank.com/cgi_w/cfm/creditcards/secured/usb_secured_card.cfm

    http://www.usbank.com/cgi_w/cfm/credit/korean_air/usb_skypass_secured.cfm

    https://www.hsbcapply.com/start/orchardbank?pf=PLApply&media=O1AF18_84288651

    http://www.ultravx.com/

  4. Enroll with PRBC - PRBC is America’s Alternative Credit Bureau, providing a helpful service to the over 50 million people with limited or no credit history. If you pay your monthly bills on time, PRBC can help you build credit to qualify for a mortgage and better interest rates. On-time payments for the following bills are not reported to the traditional credit bureaus:Rent
    Cable
    Phone
    Daycare
    Insurance
    Electric
    Natural Gas
    Cell Phone

    The only time your payments for these bills are reported to the other credit bureaus is if they’re missing or late.With PRBC, your on-time payments count. You build credit for paying your bills on time, even if you have no credit history. PRBC has teamed up with Fair Issac, the creators of the FICO score to introduce the FICO expansion score which helps people build credit. Here’s a link that explains more in detail:

    http://www.fairisaac.com/fic/en/product-service/product-index/fico-expansion-score/

    -Don’t spend more than 30% of your combined available credit on all your cards.
    -Only apply for credit when necessary.
    -Dont close unused accounts.
    -Pay on time

    Link to PRBC:

    http://prbc.com/consumers/default.php

  5. Try to avoid constantly switching employers - Understandably, this isn’t always possible, but if you have the option and ability to remain at an employer you should do so if you’re seeking credit. Lenders like to see stability in employment as stable income means you’ll have a better chance of making good on your payments. Once you’ve been with an employer for about five years, this really begins to improve your chances with lenders. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stay at a dead-end job just for the sake of your credit score, but you do need to be conscious of the fact that this does play a role in your chances in being approved.
  6. Try to avoid frequent changes in residence - Just like constantly moving from job to job, lenders like to see stability in residence. If you’re renting a new place every year, the lender will wonder why you need to keep moving. Lenders also look favorably upon homeowners, so if you currently do own a home, this can also help
  7. Work to increase your income - Easier said than done, but your debt-to-income ratio is quite important when it comes to getting approved or not. In addition to the actual ratio, lenders like to see regular increases in your income. Whether this is through annual raises or occasional bonuses, this can help your chances of getting approved. Also, if you are expecting a bonus sometime shortly after applying for a loan, bring this up to your lender. Knowing that you’ll be receiving additional income can be a deciding factor if you are on the line of being approved or not.

Remember, it takes time. It can be frustrating, but working to establish or improve your credit history takes time. There isn’t an overnight solution, so you have to approach this as a long-term goal. If you’re just beginning to establish credit for the first time, take things slow and begin by opening a few small accounts. With these initial accounts, make sure you use the credit wisely and develop sound habits. It won’t be long and you’ll be on your way to building a great credit history.



My introduction.
January 27, 2010, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Hello readers! I am new to WordPress but I seem to be settling in rather nicely. Once I finish unpacking I shall begin my blog journey so don’t stay away for too long.




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